The Affordable Art Fair, Spring Collection (AAF)

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March 12-15, 2009 Battersea Park, London

If there were lots of dogs and cows at the art fair, there were even more butterflies, often in clear plastic shadow boxes, paper cutouts posing as something better than the real thing. Perhaps this subject matter is seasonal? It's Lent, after all. Another striking feature about this fair: Lots of great women artists, which I suppose makes sense as historically, their work has sold for less. Sigh. It was also a little disappointing just how similar much of the work looked. There were, however, a few exceptions:

1. I enjoyed Media Cohan-Petrolino's (Assistant Curator, University of the the Arts London) No Place Like Home, a show inside a show premised on the following:

As art buyers at AAR are more likely to live with the work they purchase rather than place it in storage as an investment, I thought it would be fitting to explore the meaning of home and to show artwork that creates a narrative between itself and where it will be hung." (from the AAF map and publication)

Here's an another blurb published on the AAF site

This spring, AAF has created a platform for independent curator, Medeia Cohan-Petrolino to execute the first ever thematic show at the fair, entitled 'No Place Like Home'. The selling exhibition, located at the fair entrance, explores the power of home through a variety of mediums, interpreting the theme not only as a physical place full of memories, but also as a sense of identity, belonging and even nationalism.
All the works in this carefully curated show have been produced by talented emerging artists who have graduated in the last five years, which provides you with a great opportunity to buy work by potential stars of the future whilst supporting these artists in the early phases of their careers.

I stand corrected: AAF's spring collection was full of cows, dogs, butterflies and art stars in the making...But seriously, I liked Alice Wisden's funny little paintings, sooo reminiscent of Pennywise from Stephen King novel's novel IT. I was less taken with Geir Moseid's photographs, ostensibly about domestic abuse. But then perhaps that's the point? They're images less for liking and aimed more at provoking thought?

2. I'm always looking for interesting gallerists and I think I may have found it in Rebecca Hossack.

Indeed, Kate Jenkins's crocheted plates were disarmingly funny. Something between a painting and a sculpture, they take humble means (yarn) and transform it into the most marvelous surface--both tactile and visual. This work might have made a nice edition to the No Place Like Home exhibition.

I also found Lisa Swerling's boxed miniatures fun but quick. I could never live with one for long.

And finally, there were Rosalind Davis's little windows onto strange realities, vaguely reminiscent of the work of Tacita Dean. Davis's paintings are described as follows by her gallery, Long & Ryle:

Rosalind Davis is a mixed media painter creating complex and 3d dystopian landscapes, with a romantic and melancholy undercurrent.
The subjects that Davis depicts are seemingly neglected structures in the midst of urban landscapes. Her attention to detail of these buildings and her sensitivity to their character makes clear that these are in fact social hubs: places of refuge for the people that use them - a means of survival in bleak urban areas where there is widespread social deprivation.
The medium Davis utilises, fusing painting with collage and embroidery, is complex, creating experimental expressions in painting. Her technique adds fragility and tenderness, emphasising the disconcerting juxtaposition between aesthetics and meaning. The effect she achieves is disconcertingly touching and powerful, creating landscapes that are a visual echo of human experience.
Davis’s work is influenced by the tradition of urban realism and the landscape art movement of George Shaw, Jock Mcfadyen and Edward Hopper as well as the materiality and experimental surfaces of Michael Raedecker and Peter Doig. In addition there are references to the Romantic movements and the melancholia of the Pre-Raphaelites.
Davis studied at Chelsea School of Art and the Royal College of Art and has exhibited widely securing exposure through exhibiting in many prestigious shows and galleries and has paintings in both public and private collections. is a mixed media painter creating complex and 3d dystopian landscapes, with a romantic and melancholy undercurrent.

This work is so very different from my own - Perhaps that's why I find it seductive. It takes me away. It's true my practice is unlikely to ever feature at AAF....It might be nice to work in a way that did.

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